Why Stories Are The Key To Success

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“I don’t want anyone reading my writing to think about style. I just want them to be in the story.” ~Willa Sibert Cather
Are you looking to build a massive following around your brand? Do you want to build influence within your personal social network/graph? There’s one thing which can help take your influence and reach from a mediocre level to heights never imagined: telling a powerful story. I remember studying storytelling in elementary school but years later, I find that I am still fascinated by the power of stories.

I spend tons of time reading about effective copywriting, online sales and marketing, applied psychology, and business strategy. Throughout all of the things that I’ve read, I’ve found that stories which resonate with the listeners can generate a response never imagined. While artificial techniques can be used to manipulate the response, a compelling story is key to success.

Finding A Story Which Resonates

Read through any non-fiction book and you’ll find countless anecdotes spun from tales of love, passion, struggle, and any of the other powerful emotion experienced throughout life. We also tend to remember the best story tellers. Look around the social media landscape and you’ll find that a large portion of the most popular individuals have compelling stories. Those that don’t have powerful stories of their own yet are popular, have a talent for telling stories that resonate on a large scale.

Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of someone with an inspirational story. He’s asked to speak around the country and on national television shows to talk about his wine video show which exploded thanks to his dynamic personality. Aside from having a great personality and “amazing good looks” as he likes to say, Gary’s story is the American dream. He came with his parents from Belarus, lived in a studio apartment with his entire family, and eventually helped build his dad’s wine company from a couple million a year to over $30 million a year.

Another story that I’ve read in countless books is the story of Soichiro Honda who created the automobile company named after him. He was a self-taught engineer who started off working as a mechanic at a Japanese tuning shop where he tuned cars and entered them in races. As Wikipedia describes:

He later worked on a piston design which he hoped to sell to Toyota. The first drafts of his design were rejected, and Soichiro worked painstakingly to perfect the design, even going back to school and pawning his wife’s jewelry for collateral. Eventually, he won a contract with Toyota and built a factory to construct pistons for them, which was destroyed in an earthquake. Due to a gas shortage during World War II, Honda was unable to use his car, and his novel idea of attaching a small engine to his bicycle attracted much curiosity. He then established the Honda Technical Research Institute in Hamamatsu, Japan, to develop and produce small 2-cycle motorbike engines. Calling upon bicycle shop owners across Japan to take part in revitalizing a nation torn apart by war, Soichiro received enough capital to engineer his first motorcycle, the Honda Cub. This marked the beginning of Honda Motor Company, who would grow a short time later to be the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles by 1963.

It’s an inspirational story which I’ve seen inserted into countless publications because of its power to generate powerful emotions within us. We feel the character’s pain and we share with him the joy of success after so many countless failures which would have driven most people to quit. I’ve become addicted to these types of stories as they have the power to create immense positive emotions.

Whether you are retelling existing stories or telling your own, practicing and refining the delivery of stories will help your message grow to unlimited levels. It can be marketing campaigns, applications and platforms which enable others to tell their stories, speaking engagements, or a dinner with friends. No matter where the story is told, powerful stories and effectively communicating those tales are one of the most important keys to success.

What stories have resonated most with you? Are there any that you love to tell?